Altars of Remembrance are things, places, quotes and moments that mark our lives. In the month of December, I am sharing four of my life’s markers. I hope you have been encouraged and will stay tuned for the last remaining post.
Rinse and Repeat is a phrase used to indicate the continual repetition of an action or sequence of events, typically in a way regarded as tiresomely predictable.
I want to repeat these markers so often they become predictable in my life.
Marker #3 The story of Naomi and Ruth*
Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she [Naomi] said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” ~ Ruth 1:14-17
Naomi exhibits faith in brokenness. This is the first part of Marker #3.
When we feel bitter, empty, without the skills to live successfully through this moment we can look to Naomi as an example. She is one of my Bible heroes because of her brokenness. She says about herself that she went out full and is coming home empty. (Ruth 1:21) Yet, don’t miss this; she is still coming home! Broken and grieving she is still finding her way to the promised land. And even better than that; she is not coming alone.
Remember this quote from (Rinse and Repeat Part 1):
“If I want to truly give it forward today, if I want to be the gift, don’t I have to believe there’s enough in me that’s a gift to give forward?…it is strange to believe He could find any value in my…brokenness…[but] Didn’t He believe it was worth redeeming, renewing, resurrecting, to make it all into more than enough?…Christ believed in us…” ~ Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 82
Jesus knew we would be broken imperfect people, yet like Naomi, He chooses to use us to help others find their way to Him.
Naomi inspired love and loyalty in her daughter-in-law, to the point that Ruth was willing to lay down her old life. Ruth chose a new faith, not just a new address.
This brings me to another Blossom Ministries verse that is an Altar of Remembrance:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. ~ John 15:16-17
When we exhibit faith in our brokenness we influence eternal life.
The book of Ruth is named after the second character in the story for good reason.
Ruth loves brave enough to leave her comfort zone. This is the second part of Marker #3.
Ruth chooses to follow Naomi’s faith and in so doing she becomes one of the characters in the greatest story ever told. Ruth marries Boaz and they have a son, Obed. He has a son named Jesse, and he has a son named David. You know him as King David and if you follow the genealogy you will find that God promised David that a king from his line would forever sit on the throne. (II Samuel 7:16 NCV)
Jesus, our Savior, is that King!
Brave love**, the kind of love that spurs us forward and away from our comfort zone also influences eternal life. Ruth put down her old life. She left behind her idols and choose the one true God. When we choose to follow the one true God we also become a character in the greatest story ever told.
So it is with you. When you heard the true teaching—the Good News about your salvation—you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he had promised. 14 That Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive what God promised for his people… ~ Ephesians 1:13-14a NCV
The Holy Spirit Himself is an altar of remembrance. He is a deposit or a guarantee of our inheritance. Literally, God left Himself here with us so that we would know He is coming back for us. We are not alone in this broken life!
I encourage you today to keep the faith even in seasons of brokenness. Including others in your daily imperfections is actually inspiring.
I encourage you to bravely love God enough to leave behind the comfort of your old life and choose a new life in Christ. Do this daily, Rinse and Repeat!
*Look for Rinse and Repeat (Part 4 of 4) on December 28, 2017.
** For more on Brave Love see Rinse and Repeat (Part 2 of 4).
This post originally was published in the Blossom Ministries Newsletter, Issue 3 of 2017.